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Lang Cairn

Chambered Tomb

<b>Lang Cairn</b>Posted by greywetherImage © greywether
Nearest Town:Dumbarton (10km S)
OS Ref (GB):   NS457814 / Sheet: 64
Latitude:56° 0' 2.13" N
Longitude:   4° 28' 28.56" W

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<b>Lang Cairn</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Lang Cairn</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Lang Cairn</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Lang Cairn</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Lang Cairn</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Lang Cairn</b>Posted by greywether <b>Lang Cairn</b>Posted by greywether <b>Lang Cairn</b>Posted by greywether <b>Lang Cairn</b>Posted by greywether <b>Lang Cairn</b>Posted by greywether <b>Lang Cairn</b>Posted by greywether <b>Lang Cairn</b>Posted by greywether <b>Lang Cairn</b>Posted by greywether


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Relative to prehistoric structures, the term 'sleeping giant' could well have been invented for the Lang Cairn... sitting aloof at the southern end of Gallangad Muir, just north of the forest line, Mother Nature has now all but reclaimed her monument for herself, such is the heather coverage.

Yeah, the true height of this extraordinary long cairn may consequently be masked, but there's no disguising its length. The name is descriptive and apt. Say what you see, prosaic local inhabitant, say what you see.... For me, however, it is the impressive facade which is the finest component of this top rate cairn, despite the toppling of two of the tallest stones who knows when? Facade aside, however, structural details are scarce, with only the remnants of a lateral chamber visible mid-way(ish) along the right hand flank as the traveller makes his way from the facade end.

Due to the aforementioned forestry there's an 'otherworldly' aura here, the vibe amplified as a spontaneous Gladman exclamation echoes around the locality, as if within some natural mountain amphitheatre. Too much reverb, methinks. The light drizzle and mist lying upon the tree-tops probably helped as well, come to think of it. In some respects, a 'Lost World' analogy is not too fanciful, for the forestry not only shields the Lang Cairn from casual visitors, but makes a personal audience by the interested punter none too easy either.

So, assuming you've managed to locate the 'Auchencarroch Road' from the A813 at Jamestown, follow this minor road all the way to its terminus at West Cameron Farm. I asked to park here - no problem at all - before walking up the well made track, this veering eastwards, then southwards to enter the forestry. The trick now is to attempt to accurately guage when to cut through the trees to your right and emerge upon the moor within sight of the monument. Hmmm... somehow I managed the feat with ease, much to my surprise, although the 'ride' I chose did not possess the observation platform mentioned in Twinny's post. So must have been a bit 'jammy', then. Further to previous directions, ensure you pass a distinctive structure faced with a couple of horizonal wooden planks on your left, and look to do your 'Indiana Jones' bit near the end of the next long, straight section of track around the corner. Think of it as a sort of induction test to prove you are worthy. Or something like that.

Finally, I should relate that the long cairn was surrounded by numerous Historic Scotland notices warning that metal detecting at a Neolithic site is not only very stupid, rendering you a muppet (er, 'Stone Age') but also illegal. OK, perhaps it didn't say the former, but if any local TMA'ers are in a position to keep a look out, please do so.
7th June 2010ce
Edited 7th June 2010ce

After a trip to the Stockie Muir chambered cairn ( I promised myself I would return to seek out its nearest neighbour which lies across the other side of a Forest. It may as well have been on the Moon because getting to it was extremely difficult and a real test of will. First off the farmer has locked the gates along the road so that it is no longer possible to drive along the road for most of the way. The road itself was in fairly good condition and was an easy walk but its a fair treck to get to the forest where the cairn lies. We walked for at least an hour and a half. For those of you who live in nearby Glasgow this walk is an experience in itself as this large tract of land has nothing on it. Nothing for miles around except the most amazing panoramic view of the Kilpatrick Hills, The Campsie Fells, Loch Lomond and over to the NW the cobbler and Arrocher. Once you enter the forest be careful not to walk too far. The ride to your right that takes you out onto the moor has an observation platform halfway down. No other break in the forest has this so if you spot it, this is the one. Once you get to the forest edge look up to your left diagonally and you should be able to spot a heather covered long outcrop. This is the cairn. Prepare yourself for another 20min slog across boggy moorland to get to it. Once I arrived I was struck by how big this cairn is. I mean its massive. Its at least 8 times the length of the Stockie Muir cairn (mentioned above). Standing on its top its hard to get a sense of what this place was like when it was inhabited. Take a wander down to the edge of the forest that runs alongside the cairn and whisper your name. It will come back in a very distinct echo as there is a large cliff and waterfall hidden by the forest which forms a natural amphitheatre. If the forest wasn't there I bet this would be a very distinctive spot indeed. As it is this is one for the completists. twinny Posted by twinny
1st May 2006ce
Edited 1st May 2006ce

This is a favourite of mine.

I remember the joy when I first visited it. I knew it only as a dot on a map and was delighted to find a near-perfect unexcavated Clyde cairn of massive length and in a fair state of preservation.

The forecourt was particularly impressive at that time with its facade of orthostats and dry-stone walling.

Sadly, time has taken its toll. The facade is not as impressive as it was and the tallest orthostat (re-erected in the 60s) has fallen. All of this has happened in the last 10 years or so. Not through willful damage as far as I can see but merely as a result of vegetation now taking hold and weakening the structure.

Despite all that, it is still the best example of its type out of a number of Clyde cairns in the area.

Landscape enthusiasts are warned that it is closely surrounded on two sides by forestry.

I've updated the photos but kept two of the earlier ones on for comparison. They are from undated slides but probably from the mid 90s. For more detail, see the photo captions.


The first challenge is to navigate the twists and turns on the road from Croftamie on the A809 to Wester Cameron Farm (N of the site). Park where you can then walk E then S down the forest track.

Once in the forest, there are a number of rides to the right which give access to the moor. The one to take is the FIRST of the two (narrower and slightly obscured) close together at the end of the long straight rise in the track. This brings you out at the corner of the forest near the cairn.

Visited 10 March 2004
greywether Posted by greywether
19th March 2004ce


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Brief description and plan.
greywether Posted by greywether
5th December 2003ce